Plugging in: Preparing to Go to Online School

Posted on September 19 2012

Preparing to go back to school is an exciting time. Previously, “back to school” meant preparing your books, backpack, and school things, as well as coming to school with pressed pants and a neatly ironed shirt. Now, with the advent of online high schools – “back to school” takes a different route.

Consider the following to help you prepare to dive into your online learning:

  • Chart your path. When you enroll in your online high school courses, the virtual school will provide you with the syllabi for the courses you joined. Take a closer look at these syllabi, since these will help you make plan ahead and outline your schedule with regards to tests, projects and papers. Doing so will help you manage your time to see whether you are on track and work around other important things you need to do – such as going to work and taking care of your family. When you have your schedule before you, you can start trimming down on unnecessary activities.
  • Get tech-savvy. If you aren’t already familiar with the technological learning tools you will be using, now is the time to start learning. Pore over the user manuals so that you are familiar with how to use the different learning programs. When you take online high school classes, check that your software and hardware are up to date and can meet the technological requirements of The American Academy. If you need help, you can contact the technological support team to fix any technological glitches.
  • Get to know your teachers and “classmates”. Log-in to your e-mail account and start making contact with your teacher. This will provide you with a head start when you need additional guidance from him or her as you finish your course. Exchange e-mails with online classmates and introduce yourself. You can start an online study group where you can enrich your learning with what your classmates can contribute to the topic for the day.
  • Set-up your classroom. You don’t just need a computer. You also need a desk, some school supplies, good lighting – all in a quiet place where you can concentrate without interruptions and foot traffic from other members of your household.
  • Post a reminder of your ultimate goal. Sometimes, when the load gets difficult, it is helpful to remind yourself of how getting your high school diploma can further yourself personally and career-wise. Are you planning on going to college? Would you like to move to another job where a high school diploma can be to your advantage? When you feel overwhelmed with deadlines at work, lessons to finish and a long list of household chores, you can take a look at this reminder to help keep your eyes on the goal, to renew your weary spirit and urge you on because you know that all these will help towards meeting your goal.
  • Pepper yourself with positive thoughts. One way to keep yourself motivated is to also post positive statements that bolster your confidence and enthusiasm for your coursework. Place post-it notes in your workspace. This can say, “Just do it, don’t postpone it!”, “Focus!” or “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” You can also “borrow” quotes from others such as:

    “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison
    “Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” Ralph Vaull Starr
    “Make each day your masterpiece.” John Wooden

When you are well-prepared, you will enjoy the benefits of your online high school education more fully.